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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  December 5, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm PST

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through a successful 21st century. we are glad you could join us with our conversation with wole soyinka right now. >> there is a saying that dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminate hunger, and we have a lot of work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> for more information on
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tavis: please welcome at back to this program. -- please welcome wole soyinka back to the program. he is now a president -- a professor in residence, and he is the author of a new text, "of africa." >> thank you very much. tavis: you were tired of this nonsense that africans are inferior in a variety of ways. are we beyond that? >> i think it is an exaggeration to say that is why i wrote it. and number of reasons. it was to express my astonishment. it was totally mine blowing.
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i just mention that as one of the in ciliary -- one of the ancillary. i find a lot of crises tend to generate from east to west and cristian and islam. and there are what i call the invisible religions. lessons to teach the world. tavis: how do this to stand in their version religions play themselves out? >> yes, a very good question.
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look at somalia. look at more tanya. -- and more tanya -- look at another country. we would have thought africa is immune. in many ways, african religions, the world views, the perceptions have managed. the extremism in parts of the world, costing billions of lives, literally, in is time to remind africans of some of the ways of managing and also to tell the world.
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if that happens in other parts of the world, it affects africa sooner or later. tavis: do i detect in what you just said a critique of africa and being complicit in some of this stuff? >> of course. i am not pretending to write about africa in general. what is useful to the coming generations and the world. inevitably, and african- americans. we must also come to terms with our past and stop romanticizing certain features, including activities of africans, said
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that is just one of the things. tavis: yes. to the point you made a moment ago, i am always leery about asking about africa. it is such a vast continent. but talk about the struggle over the years and even now for africa to come to terms with its racial identity. this is separate from african americans coming to terms. let's start with africa and its journey over the years with its own racial identity. >> i do not think it very large majority of africans have a problem with identity at all. there is an attempt to turn
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africans in to sort of second- class europeans. a type of colonialism. if you take the french, the french set a target. the british, on the of barehand, but there were totally incapable of absorbing british culture. assimilating africans. thinking not so much of themselves as in the european cultures. a recognition. this is what we are. so even those that were assimilated before, fairly alone
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in their own culture. they were, if you like, more authentic. i do not think you would find a center of backward thinking. tavis: i was just reading an article the other day on the role that china is now playing on the continent, and if one wanted to be really aggressive, some could argue that china is decolonizing -- re-colonizing the continent. >> i can understand the anxiety in some respects. the european countries, for
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instance. china, after its phase of communism, they have amassed capital and is expanding that capital in a favorable terms. being able to look at the terms of a new economic force in the world. they probably need the african governments to safeguard what they have one after years, decades, a couple centuries to european powers and make sure they do not sell them, but as far as economic trading
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relationships are concerned, material, in exchange for technology, in exchange even for political alliances, i always wondered about that. tavis: made the argument is because free enterprise and colonization sometimes goes hand in hand. in africa and parts of the world under the guise of free enterprise. >> unfortunately, it does not stand the test of argument. if you say it is a free market. then they must leave the african countries to seek the best conditions for their own development.
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there are similar aspects of chinese policy, backing some very villainess governments, but that does not mean we should repeat. tavis: the u.s. has been guilty of it as well. >> france, england, germany, the u.s., of course, even the soviet union. >> -- tavis: that is my point. everybody seems to be guilty of that over the course of history. i am glad you took a question. what does africa have today that the rest of the world does not prove >> -- does not?
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>> some possibilities. some structures of spirituality, and i emphasize that, spirituality which is not aggressive. decimating a culture, which christianity is guilty of. islam is guilty of. a tolerant spirituality. in the new world, in brazil, where african religions co have it and become -- where they
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cohabit. this is a lesson for some of the so-called world religions. they have taken joy in decimating humanity tavis: -- and decimating humanity. tavis: i raise this question. just like china, the world power now advancing in africa, the catholic church has found africa is a place that is very fertile. what say you about the catholic church all of that continent? they are getting new converts daily, hourly. >> a bit more selectivity or control.
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who is going to argue about the ultimate fundamental? you have a contest for the africans all right now. religion, protestant religion. at the same time, the islamic religion is also waging -- giving christians a run for their money. where the problem begins is where there is conduct that has disdain and contempt and a failure to even learn from the social virtues of the human
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relationships -- this is what really gets my goat. tavis: if those african religions are so alive and well, then why the success? why the spread of these other traditions? >> they are very impressive in many ways. i believe all religions have something to offer. very quick at examining religions. maybe there is something we can learn from that. in other religions like islam and christianity, these are
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business consortium's. establishments. many are heavily subsidized by the practicing countries. they run businesses. they offer business loans. they guaranteed, well, some of them -- right year and now. watching all of these miracle shows. the priests, the people, and so on. it appeals so strongly to humanity, so these well packaged religions, television everywhere -- how often do you see african religions on television? that is part of the problem, the
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globalization of religions. mechanisms, more on the wave of commerce. especially in the history of the world and on the african continent. business people are then followed by the colonial powers. the islamic east war from the european west. tavis: so how troubled are you by the materialism, by the consumerism that has taken old among the african people? we did talk about it from two perspectives. going in to exploit those citizens on the continent of africa, or on the comte it you
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are allowing it materialism and consumerism to dictate their lives. how concerned are you about that aspect of it? >> i am not worried about that for one simple reason. you cannot spend the energy of invention or creativity it. followed by the ipad and so on. people get caught by this. i mean, what can this do? a few years ago, and mobile telephone in a suitcase. today, in your pocket. carrying with them certain baggage of values. imperceptibly, they affect
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things. there is this culture. ways of thinking, you know? presenting it as an alternative. you do not have to throw away your ipod because you are a follower. you can be as materialistic as you what. being grounded in certain basic -- i do not want to say the turmoil. basic values. being selective about what you take from the exterior world. tavis: these questions are
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difficult because they are different in different parts of the continent. you are the perfect person to answer this question given your own history. being a political prisoner, etc., etc.. >> the very negative. very pessimistic. let's put it this way. is the continent progressive? no, it is not. there are pockets here and there. you find is one step forward, several steps back. as i said earlier, i never thought we would be so battered by waves. movements, whenever they call themselves.
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littery laying waste a large swath of the nation. in the last few years, we have lost thousands of human beings. starting all over again. we are trying to get rid of certain government structures. so all energy know is directed that way. the corrupt taking the advantage of the situation. even more corrupt, utilizing the hysteria.
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murder in various places. the focus is totally abandoned, so it is very depressing. there is one good example. senecal had an election. -- senegal had an election. tavis: the u.s. relationship. the backdrop of a conversation going on in washington right now about you are next secretary of state will be. we are told the first person on the list of obama is susan rice, the u.n. ambassador.
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she has some experience there. and then she goes on with obama to be the ambassador, if she is successful. we do not know if she is going to be, but if she is successful of navigating this, let to be secretary of state, what has been, and what do you think will be in the second term the u.s. relationship with the continent in the obama era? >> the progressive element on the african continent and certainly nigeria, from the very beginning this sort of extra expectation. obama it is an american. he is from a country called america. for americans. anything which we get from that
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administration is a bonus. it is time the african nation stop relying on changes in administration elsewhere. as part of the movement away from the original. and so we should not expect any special treatment from the u.s. administration. on the contrary, a sense of belonging should encourage the leaders to try to make things easier. there are enough problems in the world. it is a young continent, if you like, in terms of what is
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happening elsewhere. they should be able to organize internally. the european union, the former soviet enclave. not reaching for handouts, not expecting special things. let's meet as equals. and collaborate. tavis: it is impossible to do justice to a conversation about africa in 30 minutes. you were able to do it in the pages of your text. it is called "of africa," written by the nobel laureate from nigeria, wole soyinka, and that is our show for tonight. things are watching, and as always, keep the faith.
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>> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at join me next time for a conversation with alicia keys. that is next time. we will see you then. >> there is a saying that dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminate hunger, and we have a lot of work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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>> be more. pbs.
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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: citigroup-- one of the nation's largest banks-- will lay off more than 11,000 employees. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the "newshour" tonight, we get the latest on today's announcement-- a move by the company to cut costs, increase profits and speed its recovery


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